The Government is committed to supporting the irrigation sector and increasing the amount of land under irrigation in New Zealand.
Crown Irrigation was established in 2013 to manage the government’s investment into scheme construction. From 1 July 2016, Crown Irrigation also manages development grant funding for regional irrigation schemes.

Co-investing in regional scheme construction 

Crown Irrigation co-invests in investment-ready regional schemes to help them commence construction. Crown Irrigation invests with some concessionary terms and seeks to exit once schemes reach commercial viability. The government has committed to providing up to $400 million for this co-investment, with $183 million appropriated so far.

Grant funding to support regional scheme development

Crown Irrigation also provides grant funding to support regional schemes to progress through key stages of the development timeline and become investment-ready. The government has appropriated $56.2 million to provide these grants between 2016 and 2021.

Purpose of Crown Irrigation Investments

Crown Irrigation's purpose is described in its constitution as follows:
The purpose of the Company is to enable the development and construction of off-farm regional irrigation infrastructure where the Company identifies irrigation scheme proposals that have the potential to generate long-term economic benefits from irrigation for New Zealand, primarily by:

  • Co-investing in irrigation schemes;

  • Providing loan funding to local authorities to enable local authorities to support the construction of water storage and/or distribution infrastructure associated with irrigation schemes;

  • Providing grants to irrigation schemes in development; and

  • Applying commercial expertise and leadership to irrigation schemes.

Crown Irrigation has three core functions:


Co-investing in irrigation schemes


Providing grants to irrigation schemes in development


Applying commercial expertise and leadership to irrigation schemes